Pune: The state government’s fresh notification on Monday came as a wet blanket for gym and restaurant owners as these establishments have not been permitted to open during Unlock 2 starting from July 1 to July 31.
President of Pune Fitness Club Association, Nilesh Kale, said the association will oppose the notification and demand opening of gyms in Pune and across the state.
“We have a plan to open. We will protest if necessary. We will appeal to gym owners and trainers across the country,” Kale said.
The fitness industry has taken a massive hit, he said. It has affected gym owners, trainers and other staff. “We are also going to seek reduction in rent and power bills from the government. I pay Rs 30,000 per month for my gym which translates to Rs 1.2 lakh for four months that the gym was lying unused. We have not put on the lights, but we have been charged hefty electricity bills. I have been paying all my trainers and staff, but I do not know how to continue paying them without earning a single rupee. This is the situation for most gym owners,” he said.
Another gym owner, who did not wish to be named, said, “Last week, a minister said we will be allowed to open gyms from June 28. Later, the minister changed his statement saying only the gyms in residential societies will be allowed to open. Yet, no guidelines have been received even for the use of society gyms and this misinformation is causing confusion.”
After being ignored yet again on Monday in another state government notification on easing restrictions, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), announced the launch of a public campaign to highlight the looming collapse of restaurants in Maharashtra.
Launched as #KhadyagruhaWachva (#SaveRestaurants), sources said the campaign will act as the voice of the industry, especially small and medium eateries.
Suhas Awchat, chairman of the PR committee of HRAWI, said “More than one lakh estimated small and medium eateries serve the working class of Maharashtra. Our assessment is that at least 50% of restaurants in Maharashtra will be unable to reopen.”
He said decision makers must show spunk and imagination. “The smallest of restaurants employ eight individuals, so on an average five lakh residents of Maharashtra are going to be jobless. Add this to the loss of indirect jobs and closure of vendor businesses, and we are staring at a disaster,” he added.
A city-based source from the Multiplex Association of India told TOI, that they were not expecting things to ease till August.
“Multiplexes will be the last to open. But who will take responsibility if the cases increase after we are allowed to open. We will just have to sit tight and brave the economic losses,” he said.